Blackberry Playbook Hands-On Preview [video]

The Blackberry Playbook event took place just few days ago and discovrpOp was invited to have a hands-on preview of the device. The ‘Playbook’ is RIM’s take on the tablet market in order to compete with the current contenders like the iPad and Galaxy Tab. The 7-inch-screen tablet runs on QNX. A totally different OS from Blackberry phones.

The Playbook gave us a very good impression at first sight. With it’s solid hardware, mesmerizing screen, the overall dimensions and the fluidity of the interface. After fiddling it for a while, we realised that the device is actually a fingerprint magnet! Not only does the glass screen, but the back cover as well (although not as serious as the glass panel in front). Though this is not a problem since we can always wipe the oil smudges off after using it.

I like how classy it looks with the black panel around the screen, Blackberry logo below it and totally no buttons at all in the front panel. Apparently everything is gesture based so you will find yourself swiping your finger around alot. it’s 0.4-inches thick… which also means it’s around the same thickness as the iPad 2. Quite light as well, weighing at just 0.9 pounds.

The back of the device sports a 5 megapixel camera capable of recording HD videos and a 3 megapixel front facing camera for video calls.

The complexity of the interface stands in between the iOS and the Android Honeycomb. This means it’s not as simple to use yet not very complicating. The menu is categorized into 4. All, Favorite, Media and Games. To bring this menu up, users can swipe a finger up from the botton of the screen at anytime. Preferably from the Blackberry logo onwards. Swiping up again will hide it. Another main gesture that users should know. Swiping down from the top of the screen at anytime brings down the settings/options menu for that particular app/screen you are viewing.

The Playbook has some hardware buttons up at the top. On/off button (which is very hard to press as it was very deep in) and volume toggles. I would actually prefer if these buttons are placed at either end of the top since our fingers hardly reach the top center of the tablet at all. I’d say the placement is not ergonomic enough. There are also 2 speakers at both sides of the screen. Which is a plus point.

At the bottom of the device, there’s a micro usb port, hdmi output and their proprietary port for docking and other purposes if I’m not mistaken.

There are not many apps that users can download currently from the App World, but RIM has actually pre-installed some essential ones for users, like a Gmail app, Hotmail app, Facebook app, and 2 games, Tetris and Need for Speed. There is still no Twitter app yet so users will need to use the browser for that.

So what’s hidden in this machine? The Playbook is running on a dual-core, 1GHz TI OMAP processor, backed by 1GB of RAM and it comes with either 16, 32, or 64GB of storage. The one that they currently have is the Wifi only version. Not sure when the 3G/wifi version will be out.

The browser apparently runs very smoothly. Supports Flash, HTML5, Javascript. Basically it’s like a full fledged browser like your computer. We have tried using it to watch flash videos like those on Youtube, CNN,, Vimeo and they all played very nicely.

Some casings available for the Playbook.

Check out this video below for demo on Camera, Gaming, Music Player, Interface, Multitasking and tour around the device.. all in 5 minutes for your viewing pleasure.

Since we only had that much time at the preview session, we will give you an in-depth review again once the Playbook is released. Currently price and release date are not confirmed yet. Check back soon for more info on this!

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